Trout still on the chew
  |  First Published: December 2013

The rainbow and brown trout are still on the chew around the Ballarat and district, mainly due to the mild end of spring and start of summer. Anglers around the area are enjoying the fruits of this and hopefully these conditions continue over the coming months.

The Ballarat and district waters suffer when the weather really gets hot due to the shallowness of our lakes, such as Lake Wendouree, Hepburn Lagoon and Newlyn Reservoir, just to name a few. The water temperature rises and the trout mainly go off the bite.

However there is a positive to all this. Other waters that fish well for redfin come into their own, such as Lake Burrumbeet Tullaroop and Cairn Curran all hold healthy populations of redfin and in the warmer months the redfin should come on the bite.

Lake Wendouree is the talk of the angling fraternity and angler numbers support this. On any given morning, noon and night we have anglers fishing from the shore, boats, float tubes, kayaks, and they are being rewarded with excellent catches of brown and rainbow trout and redfin.

The fly fishers have been targeting around the shoreline on and after dark for the trout that are feeding on mudeyes crawling out of the lake. The best fly patterns are Craig’s Night Time, Mrs Simpson, Tiapi Tickler and Cubits Mud Eye imitation.

For the bait anglers, mudeyes fished suspended under bubble floats with the wind at your back and lines greased are the go. After dark and early in the morning are the best times or if we get a overcast sultry day anglers should reap the rewards.

I went up the lake with my children recently on one of those overcast days around lunchtime and fished off a jetty. We caught 4 trout up to 5lb in a couple of hours on mudeyes – it proves if you get the weather conditions right, the fish should be on the bite.

Lake Burrumbeet

Redfin catches have been patchy with some anglers catching them and others going home disappointed. The redfin that have been caught are around 1lb mainly on local whitebait from the lake and the ever-reliable household garden worm all fished on a running sinker rig.

There has also been some very large European carp captures taken by anglers fishing for the redfin. If you don’t catch a redfin you will certainly have some fully winding in a few carp.

Cosgroves Reservoir

The reservoir normally starts to fire up with the redfin starting to bite. As our weather warms up they can be caught on a variety of baits, worms or yabbies fished on floats or running sinker rigs. However, the most successful method seems to be casting lures or soft plastics from the shore.

The fish range in size from small school redfin to fish over 2lb, very good table fish.

Hepburn Lagoon

The fishing reports have been patchy but the water levels are holding well. We were experiencing some excellent catches of mainly brown trout caught flyfishing on or after dark when the mudeyes were hatching using floating mudeye patterns and sinking imitations fished very slow. The darker the night the better results should be.

I can remember heading out to Hepburn last year and seeing fly fishers shoulder to shoulder that’s how the good the fishing was, and also the added lure of catching some very large trout as well.

Newlyn Reservoir

Newlyn Reservoir seems to fly under the radar due to the bigger sized fish that get caught close by at Hepburn Lagoon. But the fishing here can be excellent in the evenings and early morning with superb catches of trout and redfin casting lures or soft plastics.

Flyfishing or fishing baits worms, mudeyes or yabbies will result in excellent catches.

Tullaroop Reservoir

Tullaroop Reservoir, about 40 minutes from Ballarat, provides some excellent redfin fishing. As we move into the warmer weather the redfin should be targeted on the steeper banks with live yabbies or a bunch of worms fished on a running sinker rig.

The key to my success is to be up very early and have baits in the water just on or before daylight. About 1 hour after, the redfin seem to bite for short periods but the action can be very thick and fast.

The redfin range in size up to 4lb – great table fish. Remember to be up early.


Lake Wendouree brown trout caught flyfishing by Scott Xanthoulakis. (Photo courtesy Scott Xanthoulakis)


The author’s brown trout from Lake Wendouree caught on mudeye.


Will Stevens with a brown trout. Remember to match the hatch when fishing the lakes.


Zach Stevens on Lake Wendouree. The best times to fish are lowlight periods.

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